Pastoral Reflection 1.3.16

Walking with Christ in 2016
         What’s your New Year’s Resolution? If you are a Christian, there may be some things God is leading you to change in 2016, but there is one universal resolution that God has for all his kids: walk closer with Christ in 2016. Walking with Christ is the most important thing we can do in 2016 and it will affect every area of our lives: work, school, friendships, family, hobbies, money, health, etc. There are two central practices in the Christian life that help us to walk with Christ daily (there are others, like fasting, but these are the two to focus on first).

1. Read the Bible Daily
         I have found the biggest obstacles to regular bible reading are lack of desire and no strategy. Without a real desire to read God’s word, we keep it up for a few days or weeks and then it fades because it was not what we really wanted to do but simply what we felt we were supposed to do. If you could know God better, experience his presence more fully, and enjoy him more completely in 2016, is that worth taking a few minutes each day? For a little inspiration check out the video and resources at Desiring God.

The other obstacle, no strategy, can also be debilitating as you struggle to know where to start reading, how much to read, and how to connect it all. I have never met someone who accidentally read through the bible in a year. Reading the bible to really understand it takes a game plan that helps keep you moving and helps make sense of the overall story of Scripture. Here’s the most useful overview of bible reading plan options I have come across (you can also go to Gospel Coalition and search “Reading the Whole Bible in 2016: An FAQ”).

2. Pray and commune with God Daily
         The other practice, which goes along with the first, is daily prayer. Tim Keller says prayer is about experiencing awe and intimacy with God. These things can happen when we talk to God regularly but prayer also flows into and out of Bible reading. When we read Scripture we are literally thinking God’s thoughts so when we pray God’s Word, we are saying God’s thoughts back to God. This doesn’t mean you don’t add to it or make it your own but you use the thought of the verse(s) to shape your prayer. You can do that as you read by using the 3R’s: Rejoice, Repent, and Request. Every verse of Scripture will allow us to do one, or more of these. You can check this out for resources on prayer.

My prayer for you in 2016
         How could your walk with Christ be transformed by taking a few minutes each day to read God’s word and commune with him in prayer? My prayer for you is the same as Paul had for the Philippians 1:9-11…

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Bland